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Split Shot Rig

While growing up, my father used to take me to area trout streams near our home pursuing brown trout and natural brook trout. On one such trip, when we arrived at the stream we headed to the first deep pool. Wading across the river to a grassy bank on the other side, we sat and watched the water flow by. That area also acted as a casting platform and a stage for us to watch all of the action unfold. Kneeling down beside the stream I rigged up my spinning rod by crimping on a couple of split shot, tying hook onto the line and then threaded on a few worms. Making my first cast across the pool the current started to carry my split shot rig past a downed tree trunk that had fallen into the water from a past storm. As soon as my offering made it past the log, the line started to tighten up. Removing the slack I set the hook. After a short battle I was scooping up my first trout of the day into the net. Too big to fit into my creel I eased the big brown back into the stream to fight another day. To this day that was the biggest brown trout I have ever caught. Compared to how we fish today, that was a pretty simple rig.

Over the years the split shot rig has fallen out of the spotlight. However, when you look at this simple split shot rig’s fish catching ability, it should be in everyone’s fishing arsenal. The key to the success of the split shot rig is the natural way that it presents your bait to the fish. The split shot rig is simple to setup and even easier to fish.

A split shot rig consists of a spinning setup due to the amount of weight that you will be casting. Use 6 pound to 8 pound test line for walleye and bass, 4 pound to 6 pound test line for panfish or trout. Apply the shot about 1 to 2 feet up the line from the hook. Put on just enough weight to get your offering to the bottom or close to it in a slow decent. As a rule of thumb I put on enough weight to get my bait to the bottom in 30 seconds. If it does not get there in that time frame add another split shot. If it drips too quickly, use less weight. The 30-second rule is pretty important since the goal is to have a slow, natural looking decent to the bottom. The slower the fall, the more natural the bait appears to the fish.

The slip shot rig is not just for trout, you can use it on many species. Walleyes will fall for a leach on the end of a slip shot rig as will bass. One of my favorite ways to finesse bass is with a floating worm fished on a split shot rig. Make your cast over the weeds and slowly drag the worm over the tops of the weeds letting it fall into the holes along the way. Hold on to your rod because many of the times you will not feel the bite but will just see the line move. Reel down and set the hook. And hang on because the fight is on.

Bullet Weights offers round and reusable split shot in both lead and tin. The tin products are non-toxic and especially useful in areas where lead ban legislation is in effect.


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